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Arts & Culture

Clare author misses out on Man Booker shortlist

CLARE-based writer Niall Williams has missed out on being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. The Kilmihil resident was named on the longlist for the prestigious prize in July but was ruled out of the running when the final six were announced this week. Mr Willians’ book History of the Rain is set in the village of Faha in West Clare, where young Ruth Swain lies bedridden in an attic room piled high with 3,958 books. The character tells the story of herself, her father and the family of English clergymen from which he came. For the first time in its 46-year history, the £50,000 prize has been opened up to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Unfortunately the prize will not be coming to Ireland as Cork-born author Joseph O’Neill also missed out on the short list. Chair of the 2014 judges, AC Grayling, stated that reducing the 13 books on the …

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Desperately seeking talented canines

THE 70TH annual Scariff Show took place last weekend and the competition was as fierce as ever for this milestone year. Among the events was a special dog category event, helping East Clare Musical Society select a suitable dog actor for their forthcoming production of Annie. Four candidates were selected to play the role of Sandy and, after a trial period working with these dogs, one lucky canine will be selected to perform in December. The shortlisted entries included Jessie, owned by Paul Brooks; Monty, owned by Eleanor Walsh; Sammy, owned by Caroline Ford; and Muffy, owned by Holly Sturton, who will play the role of Annie for the production. The top four dogs will work with a trainer, once rehearsals begin. Chorus rehearsals begin on Tuesday at 8pm in the music room at Scariff Community College. Anyone interested in getting involved are asked to come along, new members are always welcome.   Carol Byrne

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Edwina Guckian

Celebrities to Light Tulla Trad Stage

CON Fada Ó Drisceoil will be the host for the Tulla Trad Festival celebrity concert, which is the main highlight of this year’s festival. Con, a  songwriter and accordion-player from West Cork, is renowned for writing comic songs on a wide range of subjects, from Shakespearean tragedy to unwelcome percussionists and the wildlife of County Clare. In 2009, he received the composer’s award at Gradam Ceoil TG4. Among the celebrity guests taking to the concert stage on the weekend after next are Darren Breslin, June McCormack, Michael Rooney, Tim Collins, Edwina Guckian, Edel Fox and Neil Byrne. There is huge demand for places at the workshops, which are a very important element of the Tulla Trad Festival. The organisers have warned that places are filling up rapidly in most workshops, which feature top-class tutors. For details about the festival, visit tullatradfestival.ie. Carol Byrne

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Giant Spectacle in Treaty City

A GIANT granny comes to Munster this weekend as world renowned French based street theatre company Royal de Luxe bring their newest giant to Limerick as part of the city of culture line-up. Founded in France in 1979 by Jean-Luc Courcoult Royal de Luxe have performed in front of more than 18 million spectators across the world and this weekend they bring their 30 foot tall Grandmother to Limerick. From Friday, September 5 to Sunday, September 7 they will be in Limerick where they will deliver a unique Irish urban tale, bringing their Giant’s Saga to Ireland for the first time. The Giant will tell a story while she is in the city over three days offering plenty of free family entertainment. Grandmother, which is being referred to locally as Granny, stands at 7.5metres tall, and is handled like a marionette by tens of Lilliputians, which have become a directly identifiable signature of the street theatre company. Speaking about the …

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Los Paddys Rotate multicultural musicians

By John Rainsford   The World Cup may be a fading memory but, for Los Paddys De Las Pampas the need for squad rotation goes. Although Los Paddys De Las Pampas have their roots firmly in Clare soil, their transnational style has meant a growing number of multicultural artists in their ranks. Mixing cumbias with reels and sambas they have, by now, developed a truly unique and original sound, which is steadily gaining in popularity. Lead singer, Paddy Mulcahy explained, “The band’s music combines Irish trad with South American folk and rhythm. Our first album, called Come Home, which was released last Christmas, involved 10 musicians from five different countries, who had to be in Ireland for the same two-week period. “These included a third-generation Argentinean-Irish charango and ronroco player, called Tommy Nelson, and other musicians from around Ireland, Scotland, Australia, South Africa and France. “Although we sent them the recording material in advance (via email), it remained a very …

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Music sends tills jingling in Feakle

THE 27th Feakle Festival of Traditional Music came to an end on Monday but the memories will  live on for locals and visitors alike. GaryPepper was involved in its organisation and, as the dust was settling, he was exuberant about how well things had gone. “It was a total success. The crowds were similar to last year and maybe a little bit bigger than last year. It was very well supported, the concerts, céilís and recitals all had more people at them than last year,” he said. He added that people had travelled from far and wide to attend the event and there were numerous musical highlights. “It was a fabulous festival, the atmosphere was absolutely brilliant. The general warm feeling that we’ve had in the last number of years was there again this year. We had people from all over the world, all followers of the music, who came to listen and play and enjoy and participate. All in all, …

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Japanese musicians flock to East Clare

JAPANESE woman, Erika Mochizuki, together with another compatriot, have set up an Irish music project called Blackbird Music, which will see 11 musicians from their homeland come to East Clare this week. Dai Komatsu, who is an Irish fiddle-player based in a city called Nagoya in Japan, and Erika have been using their project to provide Irish music material over the internet. Erika originally had the idea of introducing this rich musical culture to Japanese people. She met Dai for the first time in Ennis in 2005, when he came there to learn traditional Irish fiddle-playing. The idea of this project gradually evolved from that first meeting. Together, they organise and coordinate concert tours and workshops in Japan for traditional Irish musicians. The music summer camp in East Clare is another element to this. Erika organizes instrumental lessons for Japanese people visiting Ireland and she also provides technical advice and translation for Japanese people interested in Irish music. They share …

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Hats off to some great local characters

Meetings of Clare’s most famous names is the premise for a one-man show to be staged in the north and east of the county later this year. Lisdoonvarna man Gerry Howard will star in the performance Hats Off To Clare, written and directed by Mountshannon resident, Paul Brennan. The production will explore the imagined interactions of Clare’s most famous factual and fictional characters. Gerry was involved in amateur drama for years before taking the leap into professional acting and it was around the time he decided to leave his career as a hotelier that the seed was sown for this particular production. “I was always involved in amateur acting. I think I started around the age of 12. I was involved in plays with the Lisdoonvarna Dramatic Society and was involved right up to when I sold the hotel, The Carrigann in Lisdoonvarna. When I sold it, it seemed to be a great opportunity to have a cut at something …

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